The Covid-19 fallout has created rising levels of anxiety in society. An omnichannel customer experience (CX) platform improves interactions, reduces response times and leads to happier – and less anxious – consumers.
Perhaps the single biggest impact of Covid-19 has been the high levels of uncertainty and fear it has generated. Add to this the concerns around job losses, a global recession and lockdown that starved people of human attention, and it is no wonder that businesses find themselves dealing with customers who are filled with anxiety.
The question you should be asking yourself as a business leader, says Maxime Blanchard, Zendesk enterprise account executive for South Africa, is this: How do you identify the sources of anxiety, and how do you apply your CX to reduce or eliminate these?
“It is important to remember that customers are human beings who are craving comfort and authentic human connection. Therefore, when you think about how to improve sales, you should be thinking about how you create a predictable environment that will help make their purchasing decision an easy one.”
A predictable experience
“Remember that anxiety is driven by a fear of the unknown, so a good customer experience should first and foremost provide the customer with a high level of predictability. At the same time, you need to afford the customer choice when it comes to the channel they wish to use when asking for help. An omnichannel CX platform enables both these options, allowing you to, for example, route a customer to the same agent they have spoken to before. This, in turn, creates a one-to-one relationship and allows you to tailor and personalise the relationship with – and the experience of — the customer,” Blanchard says.
“This will certainly help to reduce their anxiety and put them at ease. Response time is also critical here — if you provide an accurate and quick answer, you will inevitably reduce their stress. Remember that customers value brands that give them a level of control — so the more control you give to them, the more they are able to interact with your brand in way they choose and the less anxious and happier they will be.”
Diarmuid Aherne, senior account executive at Zendesk, agrees that an omnichannel platform enables you to use a wide range of channels, encompassing all those that the customer is used to.
“An omnichannel platform allows faster routing to the right agent and enables agents to respond to the customer via a single user interface. This improves the experience for both parties. Don’t forget that attrition is often driven by the fact that agents are not using effective tools, and happier agents are less likely to leave. Omnichannel offers the twofold benefit of improving both CX and agent morale,” says Aherne.
Integration and aggregation
“A good platform will also be able to integrate with a wide range of communications – including third-party websites like Hello Peter – and can then aggregate context. This means it can pull relevant information from sites like this, as well as from legacy systems within the organisation, such as a contract management solution, for example. Such an advanced level of customer context makes it easier for the agents and ensures better service for the customer,” says Aherne.
Blanchard points out that an omnichannel platform also enables an organisation to remain ahead of new technology trends.
“When you build your own platform, you always must remain cognisant of the potential for new channels to suddenly arise, or existing ones to change. Working with a platform provider, on the other hand, leaves that concern in their hands, and offers you a much greater level of flexibility and innovation. This will ensure both your peace of mind, and that of your customers,” he says.
Time is money
Aherne agrees, adding that even the best technology will not be effective if it is not utilised in the right manner. “To this end, it is important to be able to accurately measure and analyse both the performance of the platform itself and the agents using it. This means that the reporting functionality needs to be omnichannel as well. Thus, it is imperative to also choose a platform that has a business analytics tool built into it to measure performance properly. This is, after all, the only way to truly understand what is going on and gain the insights necessary to improve your business.”
“Time is cash,” suggests Blanchard, “and an omnichannel CX platform will help you to save time in a multitude of ways. Handling and resolution times are key here, but if you are an e-commerce player, for example, you want to be able to reduce time in other ways, like the time it takes to place an order or the time it takes for delivery. Omnichannel means you can offer customers access to a range of real-time channels, saving both you and the customers time.
“Remember that your customers are your CX brand ambassadors, and the same real-time channels they use for customer service issues will be used to tell their friends about their particular CX. Create a positive experience from the outset by ensuring they have access to the channels of their choice, and maintain it by ensuring the agent dealing with the query has full knowledge of the customer from the start. This will reduce resolution time, increase overall happiness and create a positive CX. Omnichannel is the only effective way to achieve this,” Blanchard concludes.
• Reduce Anxiety by creating comfort and predictability
• Offer them the opportunity to contact you through the channel of their choice
• Humanise the relationship with better context and routing
• Fast response time and fast resolution
• Help making the customer’s decision the easier possible
For more information, please visit zendesk.com.
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